Issues as They Are | by Valeria Luiselli



One Nation Indivisible, San Francisco, 1942; photograph by Dorothea Lange

Museum of Trendy Artwork, New York

Dorothea Lange: One Nation Indivisible, San Francisco, 1942

In 1966 the Museum of Trendy Artwork held a retrospective dedicated to Dorothea Lange—its first-ever solo exhibition of labor by a feminine photographer. Lange’s pictures have now turn out to be a part of our collective reminiscence of the Nice Melancholy. Migrant Mom (1936)—a portrait taken in a pea pickers’ camp in California of a girl holding her child and surrounded by her youngsters—is maybe one of the vital reprinted photos in historical past. However past her better-known pictures of the Melancholy and the Mud Bowl migrations, Lange produced an enormous archive of occasions and crises within the American twentieth century, from the Japanese internment camps to the arrival of the primary Mexican braceros and the racial and financial inequality within the judicial system. Lots of these pictures had been censored by the US authorities for many years, or just not revealed by the magazines that had initially commissioned them.

When John Szarkowski, head of MoMA’s Division of Pictures, initially approached her within the early Nineteen Sixties, Lange was virtually seventy years outdated and affected by most cancers of the esophagus. She had already determined to dedicate the time she had left to creating a collection of intimate household portraits, and she or he agreed to the retrospective with some reluctance. There may be movie footage of Lange speaking to one in all her sons in 1963, as she’s wanting over a lifetime of labor for the exhibition and discovering herself at an deadlock. Her son tells her she simply must get the job completed, to cease doubting herself and hurry up. After a brief pause, she responds: “It’s not actually modesty on my half. Don’t mistake it. It’s not modesty. It’s that I’m afraid.”

In February 2020 the museum opened “Dorothea Lange: Phrases & Photos,” curated by Sarah Hermanson Meister. As I studied Lange’s pictures within the museum in early March, simply earlier than the pandemic shut all the things down, I discovered it troublesome to not marvel: What precisely had she been afraid of? Possibly she was merely frightened that she won’t be capable to end her choice in time. Maybe she thought that her work could be misunderstood, and was doubting herself the best way so many ladies do each time we work together with hierarchical establishments that open their doorways to us solely as extensively as typical narratives permit. Lange lived—we nonetheless stay—in a time and a tradition that hinges on the normalization of unequal requirements and circumstances, after which chooses exceptions to its guidelines, however solely by itself phrases. Having to embody that exception will need to have been a heavy honor to hold.

Or maybe Lange’s worry was simply there, as rotund and unexplainable as it’s intrinsic to the artistic course of—that boring hum or sharp ring of worry, generally unleashing and at different instances stifling the drive to think about and provides form to new issues. Ultimately, Lange agreed to decide on 200 photos for the present and devoted the following 12 months and a half to wanting by way of hundreds of outdated negatives and prints, shuffling and organizing items of her life’s work into some sort of coherent narrative.

Dorothea Lange’s first darkroom was her mom’s repurposed rooster coop of their yard in New Jersey, the place she grew up. She was born in Hoboken in 1895 and contracted polio when she was seven. The virus left her strolling with a limp for the remainder of her life. She spoke about her incapacity, in a collection of taped interviews for the California Regional Oral Historical past Workplace, as “maybe…crucial factor that occurred to me, and fashioned me, guided me, instructed me, helped me, and humiliated me.”1 When Lange was a teen, her mom, by then divorced and elevating Lange and her brother alone, despatched Lange to a woman’s highschool in New York. However Lange would lower class and spend the whole day strolling the town, regardless of the difficulties that transferring about entailed. She referred to these lengthy wanderings as not “unproductive truancy,” and believed them to be her most formative early experiences as a photographer, despite the fact that she didn’t but personal a digital camera. After highschool, below strain from her mom, she enrolled at Barnard to coach as a trainer. She studied halfheartedly and devoted most of her time to studying pictures by no matter means she discovered: as a digital camera operator, apprentice to portraitists and industrial photographers, and assistant in various New York studios.

In 1918, on the age of twenty-two, Lange left New York to journey the world with a buddy. She deliberate to make a residing promoting her pictures, however the two younger ladies had been robbed of their financial savings in San Francisco and needed to scramble for jobs. After a few months, Lange was capable of lease a industrial area on Sutter Avenue, close to Union Sq., with a mortgage from an acquaintance she’d met on the San Francisco Digital camera Membership. That grew to become her second darkroom. Supplies wouldn’t pay for themselves, although, so she turned a part of the area right into a industrial portrait studio. Clad in a Fortuny robe, she acquired her guests with tea made in a Russian samovar, progressively amassing a clientele from among the many metropolis’s financial elite. She labored as much as eighteen hours a day, on daily basis, till she was capable of make a residing.

Lange’s Sutter Avenue studio rapidly grew to become a sort of salon the place different photographers, writers, and painters gathered. Many had been ladies, together with the unconventional modernist Imogen Cunningham; Alma Lavenson, who photographed industrial landscapes; and Consuelo Kanaga, one of many first feminine photographers to doc life within the South below Jim Crow, and whose portraits of black writers and intellectuals grew to become extra extensively recognized solely a few years later. Some folks referred to Lange’s studio as “the matrimonial bureau,” presumably due to a number of amorous relationships that had began at its late-night gatherings. It was there that Lange met Maynard Dixon—a cowboy-booted bohemian painter twenty years her senior. They married in 1920, solely two years after she left New York, and had two sons. By the top of the last decade Lange was operating the studio and taking good care of her youngsters and family totally on her personal, with solely intermittent participation from her husband.

Throughout the early Nineteen Thirties, the primary years of the Nice Melancholy, San Francisco’s artwork scene was nonetheless vibrant. Diego Rivera was portray murals on the San Francisco Artwork Institute, Metropolis School, and the Metropolis Membership; native artists had been making murals for Coit Tower; and the photographers who known as themselves Group f/64—together with Cunningham, Willard Van Dyke, Ansel Adams, and others—had been exhibiting their work in studios and galleries whereas writing manifestos in favor of “pure pictures…as possessing no qualities of approach, composition or concept, by-product of some other artwork type.”

Lange herself by no means adhered to such a set set of aesthetic rules; she favored matter-of-factness. Round that point she pinned a notice exterior her darkroom—a notice she later carried along with her to successive darkrooms—with a citation from Francis Bacon (the sixteenth-century thinker, not the twentieth-century painter): “The contemplation of issues as they’re, with out substitution or imposture, with out error or confusion, is in itself a nobler factor than an entire harvest of invention.”

By 1933 there have been greater than 14 million unemployed folks within the nation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been elected president the earlier 12 months and set the primary New Deal plans into movement, however the economic system was years away from any sort of restoration. Though Lange continued to make portrait pictures in her studio, work had gotten slower and she or he was incomes one third of her ordinary earnings. She gave up the Sutter Avenue studio to journey with Dixon for some time—a final, rescue-the-marriage journey—boarding their youngsters out with a Mormon household on weekdays.


White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco, 1933; photograph by Dorothea Lange

Museum of Trendy Artwork, New York

Dorothea Lange: White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco, 1933

Once they returned to San Francisco they once more boarded their sons (ages seven and 4), this time at a college in Marin County. Lange and Dixon every took up a studio of their very own on Montgomery Avenue. That was Lange’s third darkroom, and likewise the place she lived for the following 12 months. In one in all her interviews for the California Regional Oral Historical past Workplace, Lange describes a window within the nook of the studio the place the solar got here in straight. She usually stood there, finding out her prints, observing the road down beneath and the numerous unemployed and determined folks drifting previous. It was searching that window, she explains, that acquired her going “within the route of a sort of pictures for which on the time there was no identify. They name it ‘documentary’ now, and although it isn’t identify, it sticks to it.”


Worker’s Parade, 1926; photograph by Tina Modotti

Museum of Trendy Artwork, New York

Tina Modotti: Employee’s Parade, 1926

Lange went into the streets to take among the first documentary pictures of the Melancholy, together with White Angel Bread Line (1933), which exhibits the backs, shoulders, and hats of males ready in line for meals. One among them, an older man, is dealing with Lange’s digital camera however doesn’t look straight at it. Solely his nostril, unshaven chin, and downward curving lips are seen below the brim of his hat. His cracked arms are clutched collectively, a tin cup between his arms. The angle is slanted, as if Lange had taken the {photograph} whereas floating a number of toes above the bottom. The shot is paying homage to Tina Modotti’s Staff Parade (1926), which seems from above at a body of workers throughout a Might Day demonstration in Mexico Metropolis. Each pictures report an analogous second of political and social unrest. Modotti’s is a modernist abstraction—a constellation of hats and backs—whereas in Lange’s there’s a deep, desolate intimacy: the arms, the cup.


Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas, 1938; photograph by Dorothea Lange

Museum of Trendy Artwork, New York

Dorothea Lange: Tractored Out, Childress County, Texas, 1938


Stadium, Mexico City, 1927; photograph by Tina Modotti

Museum of Trendy Artwork, New York

Tina Modotti: Stadium, Mexico Metropolis, 1927

Curiously, each pictures had been on show in New York this 12 months—Lange’s at MoMA and Modotti’s on the Whitney’s “Vida Americana” exhibition, which focuses on the affect of the Mexican muralists on US artists working for the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) throughout the Nineteen Thirties.2 It could be illuminating to see Modotti’s and Lange’s work on the identical partitions—to see, for instance, Lange’s later {photograph} Tractored Out (1938), a shot of a lone Texan home in a area with completely concentric semicircles of dusty furrows yielding no crops, alongside Modotti’s Stadium, Mexico Metropolis (circa 1927), of a newly constructed Mexican stadium with its steps set like an amphitheater, additionally concentric, fabricated from bolstered concrete. Each pictures, one rural, the opposite city, register a second of capitalism—with all its religion in mechanization and progress—that was already producing the rampant, brutal inequalities that tractored folks out of their rural properties and shoved them into city breadlines.

White Angel Bread Line was the primary of Lange’s pictures to turn out to be recognized to a big viewers. It was revealed within the San Francisco–based mostly month-to-month journal Digital camera Craft in 1934, and two years later she gave a print to the Museum of Science and Business in Chicago. For years the print traveled to totally different museums and was seen by hundreds or possibly thousands and thousands of individuals. A long time later, in 2005, in a sinister irony of the market economic system, this print of an aged man ready in a aid line bought at Sotheby’s for $822,400.

In January 1934 Lange gave up her Montgomery Avenue studio and despatched out a change-of-address notice to all her shoppers. The entrance of the leaflet stated: “New Season/1934/Dorothea Lange/Images/of Folks/New Place/2515/Gough Avenue…” Inside, she printed the Francis Bacon quote she cherished: “The contemplation of issues as they’re…” Lange had modified the course of her work fully, away from industrial portraiture. Now she was principally photographing folks within the streets, the place financial unease was swelling and with it political rage, fertile with potentialities.

West Coast longshoremen went on strike that Might, joined later by sailors, engineers, firemen, oilers, and pilots. They demanded truthful wages and hours, recognition of their union, and union management over hiring (which was, till then, completed on the whim of bosses in giant hiring halls). Demonstrations in San Francisco quickly turned violent: the California Nationwide Guard was deployed and there was a heavy police presence. At one demonstration, police fired on strikers and killed two males.

A common strike adopted, throughout which greater than 150,000 employees shut down the town for 4 days. Lange documented the strike. One among her pictures exhibits a policeman in profile, boastful and emotionless; behind his face is an indication that reads, “Tax the wealthy for unemployment insurance coverage.” One other exhibits a employee from the shoulders up, his eyes virtually invisible below the shadow of his cap; behind him, an indication reads, “Feed us!” Nonetheless one other exhibits a policeman standing, statue-like, arms clasped on the peak of his abdomen, a thumb tucked in between the buttons of his overcoat, legs in a sort of fencing stance; behind him, an orderly crowd holds up multilingual indicators with anti-imperialist proclamations.

Throughout the summer time of 1934, the Group f/64 photographer Willard Van Dyke exhibited a few of Lange’s pictures of the strikes and protests in his Oakland studio. It was the primary time her documentary work was ever proven in a public area. Paul Taylor, a progressive agricultural economist and Berkeley professor who had completed in depth work on Mexican labor in California, noticed the present and was taken by Lange’s pictures. He requested her for permission to make use of a few of them for example an article he had written on the strikes for the left-wing journal Survey Graphic. A few months later, the 2 traveled with a gaggle of photographers—together with Van Dyke and Cunningham—to doc the brand new bartering communities that the Unemployed Change Affiliation (UXA) had fashioned throughout California as a response to the Melancholy. After a number of months of collaboration, Lange and Taylor every filed for divorce from their respective spouses and began residing collectively in San Francisco with Lange’s two sons.

Within the midst of the Melancholy got here the Mud Bowl, one of the vital extreme environmental crises in US historical past. The southern Nice Plains had as soon as been fertile grasslands, however throughout the lengthy colonization of the West, farmers began deep-plowing the bottom, spurred on by successive governments that supplied settlers plots of land and inspired ever extra productiveness and effectivity. Farmers plowed over the topsoil so ceaselessly and fervently that they ended up displacing the area’s native grasses eternally. There was nothing to carry the bottom collectively anymore, so when droughts got here and powerful winds adopted, monumental “black blizzards” of mud unfold throughout elements of Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. 1000’s of households needed to flee their properties.

Lange and Taylor had been the primary to start photographing and interviewing the Mud Bowl migrants arriving in California. Taylor was working for the California State Emergency Reduction Administration, one in all Roosevelt’s early New Deal businesses, and he invited Lange to hitch the crew. She was employed as a “typist” as a result of the administration’s payroll had no provisions for a “documentary photographer.” I presume this could have been dealt with in another way for a person. However Lange was actually there to take pictures, whereas Taylor talked to folks and took area notes. They documented the inflow of rattle-trap jalopies, the surprised faces of the newly arrived households, the short-term tent settlements. The caption of {a photograph} that Lange took in Bakersfield, California, of a sharecropper household with their youngsters and belongings in tow reads, “We acquired blowed out in Oklahoma.”

Lange and Taylor put collectively a report about migratory labor that helped safe federal funding for short-term migratory camps to accommodate displaced farm employees. Lange’s pictures had been additionally instrumental within the creation of the Historic Part of the Farm Safety Administration (FSA), a New Deal company put collectively in 1937 as a response to the agricultural devastation of the Mud Bowl. After seeing Lange’s photographs of the camps, Roy Stryker, the pinnacle of the Historic Part, employed a gaggle of younger photographers—Lange, Walker Evans, and Arthur Rothstein amongst them—who over the following few years produced a public archive of greater than 80,000 pictures of the Melancholy.

Lange and Taylor continued to develop and ideal their methodology: taking pictures, interviewing, and logging area notes in a shared journal that later helped them put their work collectively coherently. Their respective phrases and pictures weren’t two separate initiatives later assembled artificially, however somewhat grew collectively, intricately woven. The end result of their work from the Nineteen Thirties was an astonishing guide, An American Exodus: A File of Human Erosion (1939)—now virtually inconceivable to search out—which assembles a story of human battle towards the equipment of capitalism, all the time swallowing labor in an effort to produce fortunes for the few and destitution for the numerous.

The guide paperwork lives shattered by the cotton business, rural poverty, migration to city facilities, depletion of pure sources, mechanization—and likewise the absurdity of all of it, encapsulated in {a photograph} of a barbed-wire fence separating two an identical expanses of dusty vacancy. The guide consists of introductory essays by Taylor, pictures by Lange, and captions, most of them direct quotes—fragments of conversations—from the folks they approached:

There’s a number of methods to interrupt a person down…
We’re attempting to not, however we’ll be in California but…
When you die, you’re useless—that’s all.
The folks ain’t acquired no say a comin’.

“How do you inform others about what you assume is price telling, that you’ve both found, or uncovered, or discovered…and that you simply assume is significant,” Lange asks the digital camera within the movie footage from 1963—“not ethical, however significant?” That’s, maybe, each probably the most fundamental and sophisticated query within the artistic course of: How will we set up the chaos of our particular person expertise right into a narrative that carries collective which means? Maybe taking a collection of pictures is just like the method of taking notes for a novel or an essay. The toughest half comes later, when these notes must be revised—most discarded, some stored—after which assembled into a bigger narrative. And when getting that bigger narrative proper straight impacts the folks whose lives and struggles you’re documenting, as was the case with Lange’s work, the accountability is just not solely aesthetic but in addition political.

In a letter to Szarkowski from June 1965, Lange wrote:

Am engaged on the captions. This isn’t a easy, clerical matter, however a course of…. They’re connective tissue, and in explaining the perform of the captions, as I’m doing now, I consider we’re extending our medium.

She was certainly extending the medium. Lange’s work from the Nineteen Thirties, significantly in An American Exodus, permits us to see and virtually hear the early ruins of American capitalism and the our bodies it ravages. Combining photos and phrases—the place the phrases had been the voices of the folks portrayed and never the authoritative voice of the artist, curator, or editor—was a method of understanding documentary pictures as a car for a multiplicity of voices. In some methods, Lange’s methodology prefigures that of latest journalists like Svetlana Alexievich: there’s a choral high quality to her method of documenting, a group of voices talking in several tones and with distinct textures a few widespread concern.

The following a long time had been dramatically totally different for Lange. She gained a Guggenheim fellowship in 1941—the primary lady photographer ever to obtain one—to doc cooperative non secular communities, however the battle thwarted her plans, and she or he continued working for the federal government. The New Deal applications had been really fizzling out, nonetheless, and nothing just like the FSA’s photographic mission was repeated. In 1942 the Workplace of Struggle Data was created, and it absorbed the FSA. The following 12 months, the federal authorities defunded the WPA, which had employed greater than eight million folks to construct public works.

Then, following two government orders from Roosevelt, the federal government created the Struggle Relocation Authority, the company liable for interning roughly 120,000 folks of Japanese descent. All these bureaucratic rechristenings are sufficient to offer a transparent sense of the route the nation was about to take. The US was spinning itself out of the Nice Melancholy by steering towards a battle economic system, the mass incarceration of minorities, army assaults and interventionism overseas—in different phrases, towards a future that’s now our current.


First Braceros, California, 1942; photograph by Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange Assortment, Oakland Museum of California/© The Dorothea Lange Assortment, the Oakland Museum of California, Present of Paul S. Taylor

Dorothea Lange: First Braceros, California, 1942

Throughout the subsequent few years, Lange labored for the Workplace of Struggle Data, which was overtly an instrument of presidency propaganda, nationally and overseas. Her work was closely surveilled and managed, she was usually accompanied by a soldier on her assignments, and all her negatives needed to be despatched to the federal government. In 1942 she photographed the primary braceros—Mexican males introduced into the US to work when the labor shortages of the battle started. The braceros, who had been known as “visitor employees” within the US however referred to themselves as “los enganchados” (the hooked ones), had been put to work in dismal circumstances, choosing and canning produce on farms and constructing railroads. They suffered fixed discrimination, and when the battle was over they usually had been now not wanted, they had been deported by way of a collection of federal maneuvers, akin to “Operation Wetback” in 1954.

Lange probably sought to bear witness to their circumstances—the sort of method she had been taking in her assignments for a whole decade. However the one pictures that appeared on the time are of the braceros’ arrival, exhibiting cheerful younger males smiling and waving from trains (see illustration on the backside of web page 18). These had been revealed in 1943 in Survey Graphic with an accompanying article that claimed that “employees are being shipped from Mexico to the US—not as unwilling pressured labor, however as neighbors to assist with the harvest.” It’s unclear if these had been certainly the one pictures that Lange was capable of take, or what she could have considered the best way that, this time round, somebody’s phrases and her footage had been paired.

After she photographed the braceros, the Struggle Relocation Authority commissioned Lange to {photograph} the internment technique of Japanese-People. She was hesitant to take the mission on, however noticed in it a chance to denounce what the federal government was doing. She photographed, in her personal phrases, “baffled, bewildered folks” standing in lengthy strains within the streets, ready for inoculations, as the federal government set the confinement plan into movement; then, folks in entrance of an “ocean of desks” being interviewed—interrogated—and handed numbers rather than their household names; and, lastly, folks carrying their baggage and carrying their finest garments on the day of the pressured relocation.

All of Lange’s negatives and prints for this mission had been impounded by the federal government. “They’d needed a report, however not a public report, and [the photographs] weren’t mine. I used to be below bond,” she stated. These brutal paperwork of this nation’s hatred towards the Japanese-American group remained principally inaccessible till 2006, after they had been all lastly launched.

Lange believed {that a} documentary {photograph} may solely reveal one thing in regards to the occasion it documented if it contained one thing bigger than that occasion:

A documentary {photograph} is just not a factual {photograph} per se. It’s a {photograph} which carries the total which means and significance of the episode or the circumstance or the scenario that may solely be revealed—as a result of you may’t actually recapture it—by this different high quality.

Her pictures possess that “different high quality,” and imprint themselves within the observer’s thoughts in such a method that they arrive again—an involuntary echo—when one thing on this planet resembles them or evokes their environment. Within the South Texas Household Residential Middle, presently the biggest ICE detention middle for undocumented moms and their youngsters, there may be an eerie echo of the Manzanar Relocation Middle, which Lange photographed throughout the Japanese internment. And therein lies not solely the facility but in addition the significance of a documentary gaze akin to Lange’s: it reminds us how all the things accommodates a hint left behind by a earlier occasion, which is able to in flip proceed to reverberate and ripple into the longer term.

In 1945 Lange stopped working for the federal government. The Workplace of Struggle Data had requested her to {photograph} the primary convention of the nascent United Nations, however she didn’t full the duty. She had turn out to be ailing, and her well being deteriorated over the following few years, forcing her to stay with persistent ache and intermittent hospitalizations. She was much less lively as a photographer throughout the late Forties and Nineteen Fifties, although in 1952 she cofounded Aperture, the nonprofit establishment and journal dedicated to pictures, and labored on and off for Life journal, usually with irritating outcomes.


The Defendant, Alameda County Courthouse, California, 1957; photograph by Dorothea Lange

Museum of Trendy Artwork, New York

Dorothea Lange: The Defendant, Alameda County Courthouse, California, 1957

One among her final giant undertakings for Life, which she labored on between 1955 and 1957, was a photo-essay known as “Public Defender.” In a single {photograph}, The Defendant, a Black man sits on a chair in a courtroom, resting his face on one in all his arms—an infinite, robust hand; a determined, helpless hand. His different hand, barely seen, is tucked between his knees (see illustration on web page 19). Lange, as she had completed earlier than in her work, sought to doc what often goes unseen or is willfully ignored. This time, her gaze noticed racial bias towards Black folks within the American judicial system, and the essential half public defenders can play in guaranteeing that those that can’t pay their method by way of the system get as truthful a trial as doable. (It was solely three years later, in 1963, that the Supreme Court docket dominated, in Gideon v. Wainwright, that states have to offer an lawyer to defendants who can’t afford their very own.)

Although among the pictures from that collection had been included within the syndicated journal This Week in 1960, Life determined to not run “Public Defender.” For nearly twenty years, beginning within the early Forties and into the late Nineteen Fifties, Lange’s work had been surveilled, censored, misused, impounded, or just rejected.

“Out of these supplies I need to extract…the universality of the scenario, not the circumstance,” Lange says on digital camera as she is getting ready for the retrospective at MoMA within the early Nineteen Sixties. Documentary pictures teaches us to look at issues traditionally, understanding the connections between systemic inequalities deeply rooted up to now, the occasions and crises of our current, and the doable futures that our current foreshadows. Finding out Lange’s pictures at the moment, it’s inconceivable to not marvel: How would she be documenting the Black Lives Matter protests and police brutality towards communities of shade? What {photograph} would she have taken in 2016—eighty years after Migrant Mom—of a migrant mom in a detention facility? How would she have captioned {a photograph} of kids locked in one in all ICE’s cages on the border? What would she have revealed to us in regards to the lives of agricultural employees—principally Mexican, Central American, and undocumented—feeding America by way of the Covid-19 pandemic whereas residing below the specter of deportation?

Dorothea Lange died on the age of seventy in October 1965—simply three and a half months earlier than the opening of the MoMA retrospective. “These darkroom terrors, they nonetheless stay,” she stated towards the top of her life. I consider her working in her successive darkrooms: the New Jersey rooster coop; the Sutter Avenue “matrimonial bureau”; the Montgomery Avenue studio from which she regarded out the window onto the Melancholy-ridden streets; the Gough Avenue studio the place she developed her Mud Bowl prints; and her final studio, within the residence she shared with Taylor in Oakland, the place she regarded again at her life’s work to place collectively a coherent narrative.

Maybe Lange’s fears got here from a deep consciousness of her accountability. After documenting almost a half-century of crises and the lives of these most deeply affected by them, Lange understood, probably too effectively, the big accountability that comes with telling any story, however particularly the story of different folks’s struggles. Worry is an embodied data, an virtually bodily instinct of doable outcomes discovered by way of previous expertise. It may well spin into paranoia, paralyze us, shock us into impassivity. However it will also be a strong drive, as I suppose it was for Lange, who with all her “darkroom terrors” was nonetheless capable of doc what many others had not but seen or needed to see. Worry permits us to offer form to issues that we had been unwilling to see or unable to call. Worry is a particular type of intelligence that comes when hindsight, perception, and foresight collide.



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